Students, do you have your summer plans set? Think beyond vacationing and prepare for a productive summer with a construction apprenticeship. Today, we share why a summer internship, apprenticeship, or co-op is the best way to spend your school break and how to land the best practice for your future construction career.
First thing’s first: what is a construction internship?
A construction internship gives you firsthand experience in a variety of trades. These professional experiences give students an opportunity to develop skills as they explore potential career paths.
You might have heard us talk about apprenticeships in the past. An internship is a little different than an apprenticeship in that it is typically reserved for undergraduate students to support formal education, rather than an earn-as-you-learn position for high school graduates that lasts anywhere from two to four years.
The length of an internship can vary from just a few weeks to your entire summer break or even a whole year. The length of your internship will be based on the type of internship you’re applying for and will be set by your future employer. With that being said, don’t hesitate to request a personalized schedule to fit with your other responsibilities. If you’re taking summer classes to get ahead or are working another job to save up money, talk to your employer before committing.
You might be wondering: is that much of a commitment really worth it?
Yes! An internship introduces individuals to the construction industry, helping them decide if that career path is right for them. We promise that the hands-on education it provides will be priceless, but it’s important to keep in mind that internships aren’t always paid. But remember, internships are meant to deliver knowledge and experience.
With that being said, we firmly believe that the experience interns receive is invaluable. A construction internship sets individuals apart from other applicants for full-time positions. You won’t have a guaranteed full-time spot following your internship, but you will have a high likelihood of landing a position. In fact, about 60% of interns are eventually hired on full-time, as reported by the NACE 2019 Internship and Co-op Survey.
How do you know if an internship is the right fit?
Not all internships are created equal. Sometimes, interns are left on the back-burner and miss out on valuable learning experiences. And, as we mentioned at the beginning, educational experience is what is supposed to set an internship apart. When you search for a construction internship, be sure to ask if you will have a mentor who you can learn from. Shadowing their daily experiences and having them as a resource to answer any and all questions will give you the support you need to succeed. You’ll also want a clear understanding of the type of tasks you’ll be completing. Seek out internships that give you a wide range of experience, both on the jobsite and in the office.
Now, how do you land a construction internship?
The best way to earn a construction internship is to get comfortable showing your best self. It might seem silly, but we recommend practicing interviewing. Draft your answers to questions about your past experiences and future goals, the company you’re applying for, and the people you’re meeting with. Don’t forget that presenting yourself in the very best way possible includes wearing professional attire.
What’s the best advice once you’re on the job?
To get the most out of your construction internship, you should treat it as an ongoing interview. Your employer will look for the potential in you. You should also consider if they are the right fit for you long-term. A great way to show your commitment to your employer and gauge your experience at a particular construction firm is to write down your goals. Be clear on what sort of experiences you’d like to have and what type of projects you’d like to be a part of. Not only will this help you stay on track, it will be a great way to prove your progress and hireability.
If you’re ready to make the most out of your summer, don’t delay applying. Always apply well before the program deadlines. It’s only spring, so there’s still plenty of time to land an internship that will set you up for success in a construction career.
Congratulations on beginning your career in construction!